Preludes and Debka, for trombone and string quartet (2001)-13’

AboutArrangementsPerformancesScoreAudio

Preludes and Debka for trombone and string quartet was composed in 2001 for Haim Avitsur and the Degas String Quartet, and was given its premiere by them in Syracuse and New York City. Writing for this unusual combination was a pleasurable challenge—that of working out ways for the trombone and strings to make real chamber music together. A “debka” is a Middle Eastern dance, used in both Arab and Israeli communities—the dance and its music is, as in the last section of this piece, normally in the form of a theme and variations. I found this melody in an anthology of Sephardic music when I was beginning the composition of the piece, and it jumped out as being a wonderful theme for the trombone and strings to play with.

The piece grows from a quiet mysterious opening, highlighting an echoing, moody statement, and then a related idea in sharper, repeated notes; this leads to a scherzo-like section where the melody is traded between the trombone and strings; then a slow, tender duet between the trombone and first violin, which after a trombone cadenza, leads to the variations on the debka melody–mostly lively and playful, eventually becoming rather wild as it brings back the opening material in a new character, and then ending with a reprise of the debka theme.

I have made arrangements of this piece for

Trombone and Orchestra (2009)

Clarinet and String Quartet (2009)

See the links for these pages for score samples and information on purchasing scores and parts.

Trombone and Orchestra (2009)

Clarinet and String Quartet (2009)

See the links for these pages for score samples and information on purchasing scores and parts.

Selected Performances:
Premiere: February 2001: Haim Avitsur, trombone, and the Degas String Quartet, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY
March 2001: Haim Avitsur, trombone, and the Degas String Quartet, Music Under Construction, New York, NY
May 2004: Lisa Albrecht, trombone, Florence String Quartet, American Society for Jewish Music, New York, NY

Preludes and Debka (Trombone & String Quartet) Score sample

To purchase score and parts, contact Gerald Cohen: gerald@nullgeraldcohenmusic.com

PDF version of score and parts: $20
Printed version of score and parts: $35 + postage